Recent News & an Author Survey

It’s been too long since I posted on my blog. It’s amazing I have any fans left with how silent I’ve been. It’s a good thing you’re patient!

So, I guess, some of my recent news:

Destroy Cover Revised Header 033117Destroy is finally available in paperback! You can buy it here from Amazon or buy a signed copy directly from me through my Store page. If you’ve already bought a copy of Destroy through my website, my stock of books finally arrived yesterday, so I should have all of your books put in the mail over this weekend.

I finished a new book! Sorry, that’s about all I’m going to tell you about it for now. I can’t even tell you why I can’t tell you, though if you take the survey below, you might get a few hints about some things I’m pondering for the future.

That brings me to the last thing on my announcements. Now that The Blades of Acktar is finished, I’ve been assessing what books to write next and where I want to take my author brand in the future.

Right now, my brand is providing Christian action/adventure/fantasy type books that both boys and girls enjoy. It was something I stumbled into when I wrote The Blades of Acktar, and it is much scarier contemplating writing a new series that some of my current audience might not enjoy. I know not everyone is going to love every book I write (I’ve already had that within The Blades of Acktar itself), but it is still scary working on something new.

So I’m going to give you a voice to help me assess what my current audience looks like (age range, genre preferences) and what you’d like to see in the future.

I know the survey looks a little long, but it is mostly multiple choice and there aren’t any wrong answers.

As an added bonus, those who complete the survey will receive access to 14 pages of cut scenes from Deliver. Yes, you read that right. I put together two of the scenes that I had to cut from the beginning of Deliver even though I really loved them. And now I’m going to share them in all their unedited glory if you take a few minutes to complete the survey below. Once you take the survey, a link to the cut scenes will be in the confirmation message that appears. Don’t click away too fast or you’ll miss it!

Thanks so much for taking a small slice of your time!

The Blades of Acktar: Disney Version

Disney Princess

Because I’m a Disney fan, I couldn’t help but start comparing the characters from The Blades of Acktar to Disney characters. Then I realized that would probably make a fun blog post.


Leith – Aladdin

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I wasn’t sure who to go with at first for Leith, but I finally settled on Aladdin. Both Aladdin and Leith are orphans defined by the situation they find themselves, even though they are secretly a sweetheart deep down. Aladdin, though, has a tendency to be more cocky than Leith, but Leith has a few moments. They both risk a lot over the love of a girl.

If Leith was in a Disney movie, he would be the outlaw who ends up on the right side of the law by the end, and tries his best to pitch in with all the singing even if he doesn’t always know what is happening.


Shad – Li Shang

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Shad is SO Li Shang it isn’t even funny. Shang is a  by-the-books sort of guy. He looks up to his father yet also struggles to be his own person while living up to his father’s staggering reputation. Sound a bit familiar? Yeah, that’s Shad all the way.

If Shad was in a Disney movie, he would be the Disney guy who doesn’t even think it’s weird that everyone is singing. That’s just what good Disney princes do.

 

 


Martyn – Eugene/Flynn Rider

Image result for flynn riderYou probably guessed this one. Of course Martyn is Eugene. They both adore sarcasm, have a bad attitude about pretty much everything until they finally start to warm up to it, start out as very reluctant heroes, but end up sacrificial in the end.

And, yes, if Martyn were in a Disney movie, he would be the guy in the corner going “I don’t sing” with his arms crossed exactly like Eugene. Like Eugene, it would also take holding him at swordpoint to connvince him otherwise.


Jamie – Kristoff

Image result for kristoffThis one was probably my hardest to decide. I decided Kristoff in the end because both Jamie and Kristoff are the sort of guys who go great lengths for their friends without asking or expecting anything in return, especially if the girl doesn’t see them as more than a friend. They both find their families through being more-or-less adopted into one. Jamie, though, tends to be a bit cleaner than Kristoff.

If Jamie were in a Disney movie, he probably would be the goodhearted side-kick more than anything else, but he would be great at harmonizing with all  the other singing characters.


Renna – Cinderella (2015)

Image result for cinderella 2015Renna especially reminds me of Cinderella, especially as portrayed in the 2015 version. Not only does Lily James look a lot like how I picture Renna (except that Renna has straight hair and blue eyes), but the whole “have courage and be kind” motto is pretty much Renna’s motto. Both Cinderella and Renna are strong because they are kind to those around them even in difficult circumstances. They are even kind to those who hurt them. It is that kindness that attracts them to others and helps them triumph in the end.

If Renna were in a Disney movie, she, of course, would have a great singing voice and wouldn’t think twice about all the musical numbers she’d have as a Disney princess.


Brandi – Anna

Image result for anna from frozenAnother tough one. Brandi could’ve been Mulan, since she runs off to fight like Mulan does. Or maybe even Merida from Brave. But I think Anna best captures Brandi’s personality. Both are very spunky, lively, appear naive, and do a lot of growing. Both look after their older sisters. Both end up fighting when pushed into a corner because they are feisty like that. Both tend to say the first thing that comes to mind without always thinking it through.

If Brandi were in a Disney movie, she would spontaneously burst into song. She might, however, be slightly off key and singing a totally different song from everyone else.


Jolene – Merida

Image result for meridaJolene was the hardest one to pick. I know, I’ve said they were all hard. But even I didn’t get to know Jolene as much as I would’ve liked in the books. All her good scenes ended up getting cut in revision. 😦 But, I finally decided she was most like Merida. They are both good at archery. Both have very formidable mothers that they love but don’t always understand. Jolene’s mother, though, tends to encourage Jolene’s archery skills more than frown on it. And Jolene would’ve loved to have three little brothers (even if they were terrors) like Merida.

If Jolene were in a Disney movie, she probably wouldn’t do much singing. She doesn’t have a great voice. But she would pitch in and do what she’d have to do.


Kayleigh – Mulan

You knew Mulan had to come into here somewhere. 😉

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Both Kayleigh and Mulan are very tough girls who know how to wield a sword and don’t always fit in with the regular society around them. They do what they have to do to survive while always holding on to their femininity even while dressed in trousers and swinging a sword. In the end, they both figure out how to be both a warrior and a girl.

If Kayleigh were in a Disney movie, she probably would be singing while she practiced with her sword.


So there you have it. The Blades of Acktar: Disney version. It would be one messed up Disney movie, especially since, if you were keeping tracking, Shang ends up with Merida, Aladdin falls in love with Cinderella, and Eugene has a thing for Mulan. The only pairing that matches the Disney movie is Jamie (Kristoff) maybe in the future MIGHT end up with Brandi (Anna).

What do you think? Do you have any other characters who would match Disney characters? Think a different Disney character should match these Blades of Acktar characters?

Deliver Launch Team & Reviewer Sign Up

Who would like to help launch Deliver into the world? Show of hands?

Please fill out the below sign up form. Sign up will be open from now to midnight EST on April 8. You will receive more information about the launch if you are on the team the following Wednesday, April 12.

Deliver Release Date

Sorry, guys. I have been beyond silent the last month or so. Too much busyness! All good reasons, I assure you.

But it’s about time you all got an update. I apologize if you’ve sent me an email or Facebook post in the last few weeks asking after Deliver. I was frantically finishing up a few things and haven’t had a chance to reply yet.

Now for the news you have all been waiting to hear:

Deliver will release April 25!

That is less than a month away! Eep!

Stay tuned this week for lots of more pre-release info, such as a cover reveal, preorder on Amazon, listed on Goodreads, launch team sign up, and more. But for now, I’m just going to leave you with this teaser of the cover:

 

Update: I’ve decided to re-brand the covers of Destroy and Deliver. So here is a new sneak peak for you guys!

Lost at Sea Scavenger Hunt Stop #14

Welcome to the Lost At Sea Scavenger Hunt where we are helping the Kinsman people find a new home. If you’ve just found us, be sure to start the adventure at Stop #1, which is Jill Williamson’s blog. 

 Collect all the clue words in order so you can enter to win the Kindle. If you want to enter to win the second Kindle, you’ll have to take a quiz at the end, so take your time and read each post carefully. The main prizes in the hunt are open to international entries. Individual author contests, however, might have different rules, so please read the parameters on each site. You have until Sunday night, February 19, at midnight, Pacific time to finish.
 
If you need help, or get lost along the way, click here for assistance.
 

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There was something alive in that forest that Wilek didn’t trust. He led his people southwest, along a river, hoping at this point he might find the sea and his fleet waiting. They came upon a castle on a grassy plain, Stop #14, Acktar, from Tricia Mingerink’s novel Dare, the first volume in The Blades of Acktar series.


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Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country. Visit Tricia on her website at www.triciamingerink.com.

 Here’s a closer look at Dare, the first volume in The Blades of Acktar series. 
 
Dare CoverCourage could cost him everything.
Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed. Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time. Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades? No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain.
Someone will die.
 

Welcome to Acktar
 

Map of Acktar PictureIf you’re looking for the ocean, you won’t find it anywhere near Acktar. It’s a land-locked country of rolling prairie for hundreds of miles in nearly every direction. Its northern border is the Sheered Rock Hills, a stretch of mountains covered in scrub pine and juniper. The Spires Canyon, a deep trench with the Ondieda River at the bottom, marks the eastern border. Beyond the northeastern corner of Acktar, a desert known as the Waste stretches in miles of dusty earth where even the water is too contaminated to drink.

Acktar’s culture is a mix of American West meets Medieval. There are lords, ladies, and manor houses, but also western saddles, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions.

Nalgar Castle, the only castle in Acktar, rises from the prairie near the center of Acktar. King Respen, a usurper and murderer, rules here with his Blades, his group of highly-trained assassins.

Image from http://www.castlewales.com

Acktar is in the midst of a war between King Respen and the Resistance. If you’re looking to settle here, be prepared to pick a side and fight for it.


You can order Dare and the rest of The Blades of Acktar series in paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or your favorite online retailer. They are also available on Kindle ebook and audio
CLUE! Write down this clue: sea
 
Before you move on, I am giving away your choice of a signed copy of one of the books in The Blades of Acktar to three lucky winners. This giveaway is open to international entries, but the books will not be able to be signed if international. Winners will be announced February 21. 
Three Book Set Picture
Follow the Rafflecopter link to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting my blog. Enjoy the rest of the scavenger hunt!

 

Destroy Releases

Ta da!

Today, Destroy (The Blades of Acktar 3.5) releases as a Kindle ebook on Amazon!

This companion novella gives a sneak peek at the backstory of the events of Dare as well as some of the aftermath of Defy. Actually, time wise, it covers the most time of any of the books (nearly 6 and a half years).

You can buy it here on Amazon.

So far, the early readers have enjoyed it, which was something I was biting my nails about. The main character in this one is a character that was nearly universally disliked in Defy (as he was supposed to be).

Yet, somehow, this new main character stole a corner of my heart, and hopefully does the same for a few readers.

I really enjoyed giving the backstory and messing with perceptions in this one, even my own. There were times, I’d catch myself writing something where a character struck back against the Blades and I’d start cheering…only to realize my poor darling Leith was in for a horrible time of it. That’s the nature of backstory, I guess.

I hope you enjoy the book!

Destroy Cover Reveal & Release Date

This is the moment you have all been waiting for. Information on the next Blades of Acktar release.

Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5)

Release Date: 12/30/16 (Kindle only)

Yes, that’s two weeks from today.

Ready for the cover?

*drum roll*

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Back Cover:

Before the war, before the Blades, before the Leader…

There was a boy and a scullery maid and a secret shame.

One moonlit night of blood and knives destroyed their country and their lives forever.

The cost was hard, but forgiveness is harder.

The Leader failed to die, but will he also fail to lead?


I’m actually a little nervous for this one. It is the first Blades of Acktar release without Leith or Renna as a main character. And the new main character’s sins and struggles aren’t Leith’s sins or struggles. Everything is kept clean, but parents might want to read the first chapter before handing the book to their ten-year-olds just to make sure it isn’t anything their child isn’t ready for.

But plenty of your favorite characters still make an appearance. New characters will steal your heart. And I might have a new favorite cinnamon roll character to huggle.

What do you think? Are you excited for this one?

 

 

Fandom Merchandise

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This Friday, I’ll post the cover reveal and release date for Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5), but until then, I have another announcement.

I set aside the first week of December and put together a few designs for Blades of Acktar fandom merchandise. I’ve seen other authors do this (and I’ve bought several things as a result because, let’s face it, fandom merchandise is so much fun).

I thought about making the merchandise only available as part of a street team. I’ve seen other authors do this. But, I decided I don’t have the time right now to run a street team, not without taking away from the little writing and editing time I have. Besides, all of you essentially ARE my street team. You do such a great job of getting the word out. You all deserve a way to shout your love of the Blades of Acktar fandom.

Right now, I have two sites where you can get Blades of Acktar merchandise.

  • Zazzle.com – this one has more designs available since its rules on picture sizes are less strict and I had less trouble uploading designs. I believe I left most of the items as open as possible so you can customize colors and sizes. For the clothing, the women’s version is pictured, but they should all be available in youth and men’s sizes if you customize them.
  • Society 6 – this one has more options for housewares items (such as pillows and clocks), but fewer designs available at the moment since this site demands higher pixel counts than Zazzle. Currently I don’t have any apparel set up, but I will be working on that in the future.

Here’s what the Zazzle site looks like and a few of the options:

I have personally purchased items from both of these sites before and have been pleased both times. Currently, both sites are running a lot of promotions for the holidays, which is always nice for saving money if you would like anything (or you can convince a family member to get it for you for Christmas).

Have fun looking through the designs and options!

Upcoming Publishing Schedule

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on a few things. I apologize in advance because there is going to be a flurry of activity this week, but it all good stuff and I think you’ll be excited.

Deliver Update

I have had a lot of people ask me when Deliver (The Blades of Acktar #4) will release.

The short answer: I don’t know yet.

Sorry. *wince* *ducks flying books*

The long answer: The first draft is written. That’s the first big step. Now that November is over, I plan to spend December revising. The revised draft should go out to my editor and early readers in late December or early January. Then it all depends on how long it takes for my editor and early readers to go through it and send it back to me, and how many changes I have to make in the second revision. Then all the publishing stuff and proofreading. Right now, I’m hoping for a March release, but I’m making no promises. I don’t want to rush and give you a sub-par book.

Before you despair too much, keep reading for an update on everything I plan to publish in the next few months.

I Won NaNoWriMo!

In case you don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. In November, authors all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words in 1 month. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds, especially for writers like me that also work a day job. To put this in perspective, since working my current full time job, I have never written 50,000 words in a month. My highest word count was roughly 30,000. Somehow, I needed to find time to write an extra 20,000 words.

I did it. Not really sure how. Actually, I do know how. I pretty much did nothing but write and work the entire month of November. But, it was worth it.

What does this mean for you, my amazing readers?

Well, obviously, I wrote 50,000 words of new Blades of Acktar stuff. That’s a lot of words that will be coming your way.

Stuff I wrote during NaNo:

  • I finished the novella about the Leader titled Destroy
  • An extended ending short story for Deliver
  • A short story about Shad and Jolene
  • A few backstory scribbles of scenes in Dare from Shad’s POV
  • A short story about Laurence & Annita Faythe, Renna and Brandi’s parents
  • A short story set 10 years after the end of Deliver
  • A few scenes set 8 years after the end of Deliver that could turn into a novella down the road (but not right away.)

Publishing Schedule

If you’ve been keeping track, I have first drafts of Book 4, a novella, 4 short stories, and a few random backstory scribbles waiting in line to be published. You might be wondering when in Acktar all this cool stuff will finally make it your way.

Here’s the tentative schedule. Things might change, and I’m making no promises.

Late December

  • Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5) releases as Kindle only – this is the novella on the Resistance Leader that gives both backstory for when Respen took over and some new information on what happens immediately after Defy ends. This novella is something of a prequel-sequel that spans about 6 years of time. It isn’t necessary to read this book before Deliver, but it gives more insight into certain characters.
  • short story about Shad and Jolene (to be titled yet) – this will be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Destroy
  • short story about Laurence and Annita Faythe (to be titled yet) –  this will also be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Destroy 

March

  • Deliver (The Blades of Acktar #4) releases – remember, this is a tentative release date. Subject to change
  • extended ending short story for Deliver (to be titled yet) – this will be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Deliver
  • short story set 10 years after Deliver  –  this will also be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Deliver

April 

  • Destroy releases as paperback with all the short stories released as part of the launches for Destroy and Deliver included as bonus content.

Some of the other random backstory scribbles will probably also be released during one of the launches as freebies on my website.

Yes, you read that right. The next Blades of Acktar release is planned for the end of THIS MONTH. It’s a novella (though technically long enough I could call it a short novel) and releasing as a Kindle ebook only at this time, but still. That’s only a few weeks away. I might be kinda freaking out at this point.

Later this week, I’ll have a cover release for Destroy and give out an official release date so you can count down the days. There will also be more information about Destroy then.

So stay tuned. 😉

Turning Points – A Time to Rise Blog Tour

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I’ve been thinking a lot about turning points lately. It has been about two months since I posted on this blog, and most of that is due to stumbling across and purchasing a fixer upper house, moving, and making do without internet. A new house, a new turning point.

As I’ve posted about before, I’ve been into listening to history courses through the Great Courses lately. If you get them through Audible, they are pretty affordable. Recently, I listened to one on Turning Points in Medieval History, done by an English professor, not a history professor. Her perspective took on history as one big story, showing how each turning point isn’t a separate event standing all by itself, but interconnected with all the past turning points and influencing all the future ones. As a Christian, I could appreciate this even more because I believe the reason history is so interconnected and seems to be one story is BECAUSE it is one story. Christ’s story. God’s story.

Our own lives are also filled with turning points. Days and events that stick out to us as the moment something changed and set us on a new course. Often, these turning points are tragedy. But not always.

And sometimes, someone else’s turning point affects your own turning point.

Nadine Brandes has talked about several times how a turning point in her life started her on the path to writing her debut novel A Time to Die. In this novel, the main character Parvin experiences her own turning points when, with only a year left to live, she realizes she’s wasted her life, and she sets out to change that.

This was all a good three years before I even knew Nadine Brandes existed. I was partway through college, getting my degree in writing and dreaming about being a published author.

Fast forward a few years. I graduated college, was a year into a full time job, and was submitting a nonfiction manuscript I’d written and getting nowhere with it. I was frustrated that my dream of graduating college and having the time to write books hadn’t worked out. I felt like I had no time and would never have the time I wanted.

Honestly, I don’t remember what made me sit down and give myself a good shake from my pity party. One day, I realized that the reason I wasn’t a writer and wasn’t finishing books was that I was wasting time whining about my lack of time.

This was March 2014. That same month, I started writing Dare. Three months later, I had a completed book. I set it aside and started Deny.

During this time, I also turned my attention away from researching nonfiction publishing toward fiction publishing. I read blogs, books, articles. Traditional publishing. Self Publishing. All of it.

And this is where the turning point thing starts getting cool. I stumbled across Jill Williamson’s Replication as a free ebook. It was the first time I’d discovered the whole Christian speculative fiction world out there. I then went on to read her other books, and the Blood of Kings trilogy showed me that there was still such a thing as Christian fantasy besides Lewis and Tolkien.

Since I was researching publishing, I tracked down the publisher. It was Marcher Lord, right when it was transitioning to Enclave Publishing. I explored every inch of that website, and of course read the blog. Guess who had posted on the blog promoting the release of her debut book?

Yep, Nadine Brandes. nadine-early-release-2

The book sounded really cool, so I stalked her site. Learned she was an editor. Submitted Dare to her for editing. I was too late to officially join the blog tour for A Time to Die, but I unofficially joined it with a post of my own. It had to have been one of the first two or three posts I did on my blog, since I started my blog in August of that year, and that post is from September.

When I was finally able to read A Time to Die in October, Parvin’s realization of wasting time mirrored my own realization from a few months before. Wasting time. Waiting for something to plop out of the sky instead of actively pursuing God’s will.

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That idea of being active in pursing God’s will and glorifying Him stuck with me. It still resonated when, early in 2015, I sat down and had to decide how I should publish Dare. Traditional or indie? Through all my research, the indie route had tugged at me, but I wasn’t sure I dared do it. What did I really know? What if I messed all this up and Dare flopped and…and…

It was all my fear talking, and finally God made it clear indie was the route to go with these books. That moment I hit the publish button, I gave it all to Him. I’d sown the seed. The increase was His, no matter how large or small or whatever it might be.

But I wasn’t wasting time anymore. I was doing my best to actively pursue His will in a way I hadn’t before.

And He did bless the increase way beyond anything I had dreamed for that book.

Then the fall of 2015 came around. I was drained from the rewrites of Deny. Wondering if it would ever measure up to everyone’s expectations. Scared because everyone HAD expectations now, when they hadn’t with Dare.

Then A Time to Speak, Nadine’s next book, released. It was Parvin’s time to speak, to draw on the confidence of the lessons she’d learned in the first book. atimetospeak5

But it also pushed me to speak. To stop stuttering and stammering and hoping someone would change the topic when they asked about my books. To figure out how to keep giving it all to God now that this crazy ride was set in motion.

It’s strange to look back now and see how much a year and a half can change a person. In the year since publishing Dare and reading A Time to Die, I’ve become much more confident in how I interact with people. I’ve signed books at a craft sale. I spoke at a small Christian school. I’ve gone to two writer’s conferences and was able to relax instead of remain a bundle of introverted nerves in the corner. All of that confidence, those turning points, led to the turning point I started this whole post with: buying a house, moving. It wasn’t something I would’ve been ready to handle a year ago.

Looking back, I’m amazed at the way God used the turning points in my life to bring me to this point.

If I hadn’t gotten Replication as an ebook…

If A Time to Die hadn’t been releasing…

If I hadn’t stumbled across Nadine and found an editor and friend…

If A Time to Die and A Time to Speak hadn’t given me pushes when I needed them…

Would I have published Dare? Would I have gone to the writer’s conferences and made a whole bunch of writer friends?

And now, another turning point. A Time to Rise, the third and final book in the Out of Time series releases officially in 10 days, though Amazon is shipping it early if you want to order it now. You can read my review (also known as flailing fangirling) of the book here.

Yes, you all totally have the Out of Time series to thank, in part, for the fact that I ever published The Blades of Acktar.

Have you experienced turning points in your life? How have they affected you?

 

Want to connect with Nadine yourself? Because, after all, she’s an awesome human being.

Nadine is also the queen of Facebook parties, so you won’t want to miss the one she is hosting on October 18

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Want to check out the Out of Time series for yourself?

A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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A Time to Rise

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